ROLE IN AND RELATIONSHIPS WITH OTHER ROLE PLAYERS IN THE UNIVERSITY
Within the University, Faculty and School, the Department is involved in various initiatives and plays a key role in the following arenas:
Multi-disciplinary research and collaboration in areas such as:
- Land use and transportation integration;
- Sustainable settlement planning and design; and
Cooperation with other departments and programmes, such as:
- Cooperation with the Departments of Geography and Sociology that resulted in the department offering a number of modules in the BSocScience Programme in Urban and Rural Studies;
- Joint teaching in strategic environmental management;
- Inputs in the Advisory Committee, providing special modules in Settlement Planning in the M(Agric) Rural Development Course and involvement in research discussions and participation in post-graduate student projects in the Rural Development School; and
- Multi-disciplinary student projects with other programmes in the School for the Built Environment.
Collaboration in training, capacity building and government projects with:
- The School for Public Management and Administration;
- The Construction Economics Department; and
- The Civil Engineering Department.
Where these interactions take place with role players outside the university, this is structured through the two campus firms, Business Enterprises at the University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd. (BE at UP) and Continuing Education at the University of Pretoria (Pty) Ltd. (CE at UP).
BE at UP acts as the interface between business clients in the private and public sector and the vast pool of multidisciplinary brainpower and resources at the University. BE at UP provides access to multidisciplinary skills and facilitates commercial contract research and consulting services of very high quality.
CE at UP aims to make the University’s vast and diverse expertise available to a broad spectrum of stakeholders through continuous education programmes offered by recognised academics. CE at UP offers professional and personal development opportunities and supports the drive to reduce the skills shortages in South Africa and worldwide.
ROLE IN AND RELATIONS WITH OTHER TERTIARY INSTITUTIONS
In accordance with the strategic goals of the University of Pretoria of international competitiveness and local relevance, the Department of Town and Regional Planning places a high priority on internationalisation. The University has several agreements and formal collaborative initiatives with international tertiary institutions, to which the Department also has access. The Department has in its own right established relationships with a number of national and international tertiary institutions and especially planning schools. These include all the Planning Schools in South Africa and the Planning Schools at Delft, Eindhoven, Groningen and Breda (the Netherlands), Aberdeen (the UK) and Lodz (Poland).
The strongest of the relations with international Planning Schools are with:
- The Technical University of Delft: PhD program collaboration, joint undergraduate student projects and visits;
- The University of Eindhoven: Joint post-graduate degree programs;
- The Technical University of Breda: Student exchange programs; and
- The University of Aberdeen: Research, publications and staff visits and guest lectures.
In addition to these arrangements, international students from Europe and the United States are hosted and assisted with their research. In a number of cases they are also jointly supervised with academics from their respective institutions. Relations with international planning schools are also supported by informal interactions between members of staff of the Department and planning schools abroad. This takes place in the form of:
- Invitations and arrangements to visit institutions as lecturers and researchers;
- Requests and opportunities for inputs in publications and books; and
- Numerous invitations to present papers, act as chairpersons, and participate in international conferences and workgroups.
Locally, the Department is a keen participant in the planning education fraternity. Formal and informal collaboration entails:
- Participation in planning academics’ discussions and meetings on planning education, planning theory and planning history;
- Cooperation in various research and other projects;
- Student visits to and from the Universities of Potchefstroom, Johannesburg, the Witwatersrand and Bloemfontein;
- Ensuring the recognition of the B Tech degree for admission to Masters degree studies;
- Acting as external examiners for other planning programmes; and
- Visits and informal discussions on curricula and assessment with other planning schools.
PARTICIPATION IN THE PLANNING PROFESSION
The Department makes significant contributions to the planning profession and planning in South Africa through a variety of activities such as marketing the planning profession through talks on radio and television, publications in popular journals and newspapers and organising social events, seminars, short courses, liaison with other professional institutions and government departments commenting on legislation, policy documents and government discussion papers related to planning and development.
This Department has been host to a number of SAPI meetings and functions over the years and our lecturers also support the bi-annual SAPI Planning Conference by presenting papers, chairing sessions, reviewing papers and participating in the discussions. The Department furthermore participates in all meetings with SACPLAN to which it is invited.
The Department has been a key player in the collaboration between the CSIR and the University of Pretoria referred to earlier. This has resulted in a multitude of joint research initiatives and publications, training and capacity building and government projects. Over the last couple of years the Department has cooperated with the Cities of Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg on a number of initiatives, the Presidency, the National Planning Commission, the Department of Cooperative Governance, the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, the Department of Social Development, the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Gauteng Province, to name but a few. The Department has also developed a good relationship with a number of NGOs and foreign technical support bodies, such as GIZ, the World Bank and the South African Cities Network.
ASSISTANCE AND ADVICE TO CIVIL SOCIETY
The Department is often contacted for advice or information, and has on numerous occasions assisted communities and individuals with free advice. In many cases the Department acted as a conduit between persons in need of planning services and the profession, ensuring that the needs are addressed in a professional manner. In others the Department assisted communities in voicing their concerns and seeking out spaces for the expression of needs and desires. Furthermore, all second-year students in the Faculty have to participate in a community project to the benefit of a specific community.